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Inbound Industry Report: March 20, 2012

Posted by Laura Pinter on March 20, 2012

Top marketing news, articles and tips from the third week of March 2012.

Web Conversion

Landing pages with powerful copy can hugely impact form submission rates and conversions. Cory Eridon (@Corey_bos) calls out 7 copywriting best practices that can help you create great landing pages. Consider the following to start:

  • Language—Pump up optimized copy with verbs to convey action, clearly explain benefits and value, and make sure it’s reader-friendly.
  • Voice—Use second person for visualization; be clear and concise.
  • Format—Break copy into clear sections with headers, and put important points upfront. Use bold text, bullets and italics for easy consumption.

With copy in a good place, take note of Pamela Vaughan's (@pamelump5 steps to analyze conversion assists to improve site conversion rates. After identifying your best assisting pages, draw patterns from these insights to leverage what’s working. Then, follow up by creating more content on topics similar to top pages, and improve weak calls-to-action.

Remember: what you include in registration forms can either help or hinder the lead generation process. Stephanie Tilton (@StephanieTilton) shares the following lead form suggestions:

  • Keep the questions short and sweet to minimize the visitor’s burden.
  • Reduce the need for forms—allow visitors to sign in using social networks.
  • Test forms with different information. Formulate a strategy based on what yields the highest conversion rates.

Google Search Updates

Google recently made over its web-search formula with updates that aim to provide more relevant search results with semantic search technology. The process takes into account the actual meaning of words you search, which provides results more relevant to “how humans understand the world."

What exactly will users see? In addition to list of web links, Google will also include direct query answers and facts. You may have already seen examples of this in action, as Google has been using aspects of semantic search since 2003, and at this time plans to expand the functionality across a broader scope of queries.

In other search news, Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) highlights Google’s integration of Google+ profiles and pages alongside regular search results. Brands can take full advantage of this update by using Google+ Direct Connect

Lastly, Google's own Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) announced that the search engine will roll out an "over-optimization" penalty in the coming weeks, placing a higher emphasis on quality content than tricked-out SEO.

Company Culture

Greg Smith, executive director of global investment bank Goldman Sachs, gave a candid account of his resignation, and the “toxic and destructive” environment that led him to the decision.

Smith slowly saw the company culture—what made the place successful—and the firm’s morals deteriorate. Sadly, the collective mindset had become more about money than client happiness. He hopes to serve as a wake-up call for others, stating: Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist.”

Similarly, Google’s James Whittaker (@docjamesw) explains his decision to leave the technology company that once “empowered its employees to innovate.” Whittaker expresses his passion for the company he first started with, and how his admiration dwindled as the Internet giant shifted priority toward advertising.

As marketers, it’s important to recognize that everyone at your organization has a voice, whether his or her affiliation is past, present or future. Take these recent instances as a reminder to dust off the PR crisis plan, have content available that address these issues, and encourage your organization to create a meaningful culture.

In The Marketing Agency Blueprint, PR 20/20’s CEO Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) addresses the need to build upon a culture of “we,” breeding driven, dedicated professionals who commit to building strong relationships with clients, and each other.

In the News

Bookmark of the Week

Eloqua’s downloadable slidedeck, From Content to Customer, provides a framework to align content to prospects at different stages in the buying cycle for improved conversions.

What articles made your top list last week? We’d like to hear your opinions.

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